Tag Archives: Music

Farewell to The Thin White Duke

It’s rare that the death of a famous person genuinely affects me but when I found out this morning that David Bowie had lost his 18 month battle with cancer I  was genuinely devastated.

A timeless icon of music, film, art and fashion he has never stopped reinventing and challenging himself – becoming ever more relevant year after year, decade after decade. He was the ultimate king of effortless cool. I guess I kind of thought he’d live forever and the idea that he is no longer with us breaks my heart.

Rest in Peace Ziggy Stardust. Gone but never forgotten.


GIG REVIEW: Wolf Alice at Brixton Academy – 26 September 2015

There was a time where I went to loads and loads of gigs. I think in my peak year of about 2008 I went to close to 50. As time when past this little hobby of mine became less sustainable. Gig tickets became prohibitively expensive, they closed quite a few of my favourite venues (RIP both Astorias, I will never forget you) and I started to lose touch with up and coming bands – probably because (according to my friend, Paul’s theory) – I grew up and out of my rock ‘n roll angst. Although I have been to see a few bands over the past couple of years – some of which Mr O wasn’t even in – I haven’t really felt a great desire to review them until I saw Wolf Alice on Saturday night. Read more…

My top 10 movie rock stars

If there’s anything I love as much as movies, it’s rock music and the crazy folk who make it (hey, I married one). So I have picked out my top ten rockers from the movies. I am totally aware that not everyone who appears on this list is a “star” per say but they all embody some of the qualities that it takes to be a devotee to the gods of rock. For the purpose of this list I have included fictional musicians only.

Scott PilgrimScott Pilgrim
Played by: Michael Cera
Film: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Band: Sex B0b-Omb
Instrument of choice: Bass
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Playing self-indulgent, miserable songs
“Scott Pilgrim: We are Sex Bob-Omb and we are here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff.

Russell HammondRussell Hammond
Played by: Billy Crudup
Film: Almost Famous (2000)
Band: Stillwater
Instrument of choice: Guitar
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Relentless groupie shagging
“Russell Hammond: I am a golden god!

Robert FishmanRobert “Fish” Fishman
Played by: Rainn Wilson
Film: The Rocker (2008)
Band: A.D.D.
Instrument of choice: Drums
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Refusing to grow up
“Curtis: I thought you were supposed to be the responsible adult.
Robert ‘Fish’ Fishman: Oh I’m responsible alright. Responsible for partying till my nuts catch fire!

Played by: Steve Buscemi
Film: Airheads (1994)
Band: The Lone Rangers
Instrument of choice: Bass
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Humping his guitar on stage
“Chazz: Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
Chris Moore: Lemmy.
[Rex imitates a game show buzzer]
Chris Moore: … God?
Rex: Wrong, dickhead, trick question. Lemmy *IS* God.

Nigel TufnelNigel Tufnel
Played by: Christopher Guest
Film: This is Spinal Tap (1994)
Band: Spinal Tap
Instrument of choice: Guitar
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Owning an amp that turns up to 11
“Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don’t know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to eleven.

Played by: Matt Damon
Film: EuroTrip (2004)
Band: Lustra
Instrument of choice: Voice
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Performing a graphic song about the girl he is secretly shagging… in front of her boyfriend
“Donny: [singing] Scotty doesn’t know that Fiona and me do it in my van every Sunday. She tells him she’s in church, but she doesn’t go, still she’s on her knees and Scotty doesn’t know…

Dewey FinnDewey Finn
Played by: Jack Black
Film: School of Rock (2003)
Band: School of Rock
Instrument of choice: Guitar
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Making absolutely everything about him
“Dewey Finn: God of Rock, thank you for this chance to kick ass. We are your humble servants. Please give us the power to blow people’s minds with our high voltage rock. In your name we pray, Amen.

Curt WildCurt Wild
Played by: Ewan McGregor
Film: Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Band: The Rats
Instrument of choice: Voice
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Exposing himself on stage
“Curt Wild: Listen, a real artist creates beautiful things and puts nothing of his own life into them, OK?”

Played by: Tia Carrere
Films: Wayne’s World (1992) and Wayne’s World 2 (1993)
Band: Crucial Taunt
Instrument of choice: Bass and voice
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Wearing lingerie on stage
“Cassandra: Yeah, and if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass when it hopped.
Wayne Campbell: Interesting. Where did you learn English?
Cassandra: College… and the Police Academy movies.”

Aldous SnowAldous Snow
Played by: Russell Brand
Films: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) and Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Band: Solo artist
Instrument of choice: Voice
Most rock ‘n roll behaviour: Convincing a journalist to smuggle his drugs through an airport… in his bottom
“Aldous Snow: This is it, Aaron. This is rock n’ roll. Did you enjoy the party?

My top 10 movie soundtracks

There will be no Film Friday this week. In between not having any internet or Sky for almost two weeks and using up the entire 3G quota on my iPad, I just haven’t been able to fit in the requisite four films. I didn’t want to go for a whole week with no cinematic content so I have decided to go all Cinema Parrot Disco and do a top 10, combining my two greatest loves – film and music.

So with no further ado, I bring you my top 10 movie soundtracks (in no particular order). For the purposes of this top 10 I am considering a soundtrack to be made up of actual songs rather than backing music, which would be a score. I’d love to hear your favourites. (Stuck in the 90’s? Me? Never!)

thecrowThe Crow
Release date: 1994
Iconic song: Big Empty by Stone Temple Pilots
Romeo+Juliet-Soundtrack1William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Release date: 1996
Iconic song: Lovefool by The Cardigans

tumblr_inline_mho437c8Rm1qz4rgpWarm Bodies
Release date: 2013
Iconic song; Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen

Crazy-Heart-Soundtrack Crazy Heart
Release date: 2009
Iconic song: The Weary Kind by Ryan Bingham

BSO_10_Razones_Para_Odiarte_10_Things_I_Hate_About_You-Frontal10 Things I Hate About You
Release date: 1999
Iconic song: I Want You To Want Me by Letters to Cleo

american_pie_soundtrack_aAmerican Pie
Release date: 1999
Iconic song: Mutt by blink-182

863903_01The Wedding Singer
Release date: 1998
Iconic song: You Spin Me Right Round by Dead or Alive (performed by Adam Sandler on the soundtrack)

0000016035_500Empire Records
Release date: 1995
Iconic song: Til I Hear it From You by The Gin Blossoms

Complete+Dazed++Confused+Soundtrack+disc+1+dazedn+and+confusedDazed and Confused
Release date: 1993
Iconic song: School’s Out for Summer by Alice Cooper

500-days-of-summer500 Days of Summer
Release date: 2009
Iconic song: Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths

GIG REVIEW: fun. @ Hammersmith Apollo – 18 April 2013

It’s always hard when a band you really like breaks up and you feel like you’re going to miss out on hearing a really unique voice – I guess you hope they’ll pop up again somewhere else with a new project but it so often doesn’t happen. When I first heard We Are Young by fun. I was immediately struck by its earworminess but also convinced that I had heard that particular voice somewhere before. It took me just a little longer to figure out that the person belting out the massive chorus was Nate Reuss erstwhile frontman of The Format, a lovely little indie-folk-pop band that released two charming albums in the mid-noughties and then vanished.

With that in mind, I was thrilled when I was offered a chance to check out fun. headlining The Hammersmith Apollo.  There was a time where I had my ear to the ground of the sub-pop music scene and would have known what a massive crowd to expect, but since I now live under a rock, I don’t think it had fully sunk in just how big fun. are.

And so they should be. I had managed a couple of listens through both of the studio albums they put out so far pre-gig but I will openly admit that I didn’t go in knowing ever word of every song. The reason I mention this is because I always think it’s a excellent indicator of a band’s goodness, no matter how big they are, if you can get sucked into the show without already being an uber-fan.

Fun. have several really powerful weapons in their arsenal. The first is indubitably, Ruess who is an absolute pocket-rocket.  His endless energy and enthusiasm is infectious and his absolute colossal voice sounds as good live as it does on the biggest of singles. They’re also blessed with a heady indie-pop-rock sound that artfully blends 80’s guitar solos with brass interludes and some funky percussion. Pair all of this up with lyrics that manage to be uplifting but ultimately very real and great band chemistry and you can’t possibly go wrong.

They got the pacing of the show dead-on, keeping the audience fully engaged throughout with the added coolness of an awesome backdrop that included a brilliant animated city scape, complete with metro train running along the middle of the stage.

The sing-along inspired by Some Nights is quite potentially one of the most satisfying I have ever experienced and I will admit to a tiny tear in my eye for The Gambler, but ultimately the climax of the show was always going to be the encore of We Are Young. The only bum note was the seemingly odd decision to follow up We Are Young with Stars as the finale. After the climax of We Are Young it meandered somewhat and left the audience rather restless.

In conclusion fun. are exactly what they have obviously set out to be be – about as much fun as you can cram into 90 minutes.

Photo by touring drummer, Will Noon

Photo by fun. touring drummer, Will Noon

Spring has sprung at ra ra Retro

Despite the current weather not being very springy at all, last week saw us pile into the Cavendish Arms for the ra ra Retro Spring Ball to celebrate the relaunch of our favourite retro-vintage-indie-mod shop’s new website. Do go and check it out, even if just to stare at Paul Ra Ra’s gorgeous mush, since he has plastered the whole site with it. Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Carrying on from the success of the Christmas bash, the event promised an evening of music, boozing and of course, natty threads – with all the bands dressed in ra ra Retro gear… except DJ Mishima who went for Aladdin chic, but that’s another story…


First up were Paul Ra Ra’s own band, Mother Majesty, in only their second ever live performance. With their confidence boosted by a little previous experience, the whole band seemed more comfortable on stage and shy singer, Liz even managed some convincing audience interaction. As before, their grunge-influenced 90’s inspired tunes, got the crowd going and although there’s room for improvement, they were the perfect rough and ready openers.


Next up were Moon Visionaries, fronted by Greg Dearing, wearing a particularly lurid ra ra Retro shirt. The London three-piece brought a kind of dreamy Britpop feel to the night but somehow it felt like their hearts weren’t in it. Probably unsurprising since we later found out they are in the process of splitting up.

The evening closed with Penge’s finest The Red Lapels. With enough rock ‘n roll swagger to conquer the toughest of crowds, honey-voiced, Rich Maddy soon had the whole of the Cavendish Arms in a bit of a frenzy. We even saw dancing at the back – you know who you are. The Red Lapels have that rare quality where every one of their songs sounds different but there is a cohesiveness that gives them their own distinctive sound. There is no denying that they have a strong vintage bent with a bit of rockabilly flavour, evidenced by their stonking cover of I See a Bad Moon Rising. The concensus from the crowd was that we’ll definitely be checking out The Red Lapels again.


All pictures by Robin Lanes

Wishing you a Ra Ra Retro Xmas

Last week fledgling vintage fashion brand, Ra Ra Retro, held its Christmas party at the quirky Tamesis Dock, a 1930’s Dutch Barge converted into a floating pub. The intention of the party was to showcase some of the awesome men’s shirts, coats, tees and jackets available, while also having a right old knees up.

First on stage was the newly formed, Mother Majesty, playing their first ever gig and bringing a kind of grungy vibe to the boat. Although most of the band is relatively inexperienced, they managed to get the crowd going. While their sound could do with some polishing, they showed promise so let’s look out for what they do in the future.


Things really kicked off when Desert Ships got on stage. Strongly channeling the early 90’s, they managed to get the audience moving and even inspired some slightly off the wall antics…


As you can see it didn’t take long for Paul Ra Ra, as frontman, Mikey Buckley calls him, to clamber up onto the upper deck of the boat.


Not to be outdone, Mikey was soon up after him and found, what looks like the perfect performance spot.


The set was eventually thrown into confusion, when a drunk member of the London fire department (yes really) decided he wanted a cuddle off the band but was brought back to an inspired end when Paul suggested and then lead a Parklife cover.


From then on nothing was left to do but dance, drink and celebrate the success of Ra Ra Retro. The stragglers were booted out at 1am, carrying the last of the music equipment. We’ll be ready and waiting for the first anniversary party. Let’s just hope no one streaks…

Mr Ra Ra himself

Mr Ra Ra himself

All pictures by Oliver Geier.

5 Random Songs, 5 Random Memories

I nicked this concept from fellow blogger, Commandpluszed, who put his iPod on shuffle and wrote about the memories that the first five songs that came up inspired. You can read more here. I decided to do the same. These are not quite the first five songs but they’re the first five that actually had memories attached to them. The exercise made me realise that I need to clean-up my iPod since I don’t actually recognise half of what’s on there. I’m kind of hoping this will catch-on since I’d love to know some of your music memories…

 Blue Hotel – Chris Isaak

Anyone who grew up in South Africa will remember that the SABC used to play music videos in between whatever random stuff they were showing (think Neus Chanel 9 from The Fast Show). They generally didn’t have a wide variety of videos so they’d get stuck playing the same one about five times a day. I have a clear memory of it being Blue Hotel by Chris Isaak for a while when I was about seven and becoming obsessed with the song. My mom, who has been instrumental in my musical education, was only listening to rock music at the time and professed her horror that I’d like something so bluesy and bordering on country. My mom hates country. She thinks it is the devil’s music. I still like a bit of country and I still love Chris Isaak. Sorry, mom.

If I Cut My Hair, Hawaii Sink – Chiodos

A few years ago I randomly took my ex to see Chiodos, mostly because he only really likes house music and I figured a night of screamo would piss him off. I’m mature like that. What I remember most about that night was that Skrillex opened for Chiodos. At that point no one had ever heard of him and his record company would not pay for his band to come out with him so he played a DJ set and it was awesome. I also remember that the night ended in some kind of mad house party at my place, where I eventually threw my ex out because he had climbed on the roof of the house.

You’re So Last Summer – Taking Back Sunday

Two memories for this one, one is randomly of singing this to myself while climbing the stairs to come out of Tottenham Court Road on the way to work. The other is of going to see Vampire Weekend on my own at Reading Festival because my camp-buddy, Josh, thought they were rubbish and running into Adam Lazzara and his mom outside the tent they were playing in. I briefly got to hang out with Adam and he was lovely.

When The Day Met The Night – Panic At The Disco

When Pretty.Odd first came out, I hated it. I hated it so much I declared war on Panic At The Disco (they were ! less at the time) and decided never to listen to them and then somehow I ended up leaving the album on while I was doing something else and deciding that I actually loved it more that cats. For about three months I did not listen to anything else. I racked up so many plays, that it overtook all other albums on my itunes play count. I’m still kind of sad that the band split in half and that Panic! At The Disco went back to their old sound.

On & On & On – Streetlight Manifesto

This is another Reading memory of being in the Lock-Up tent with Josh’s sister skanking with a total stranger until I was totally out of breath and had to go and lie on the grass to recover. There is no happier music in the world than ska.

REVIEW: Twin Atlantic at Islington Academy, 29 November 2011

Ah Islington Academy, the only music venue in a shopping centre. That’s where we were on Tuesday to catch Twin Atlantic on the second date of the Free-Ze Tour.

It’s been quite a while since I saw a really good opening act and I have to say that Tuesday’s gig did little to end the drought.

We arrived just after the start of Arcane Roots’ set to find them heartily attempting to be Biffy Clyro. Unfortunately Biffy Clyro are already Biffy Clyro and they’re quite good at being Biffy Clyro. Arcane Roots, just aren’t and the strange little wanders into Incubus didn’t help much either. I might be wrong since a fair junk of the audience seemed to be loving them. I just wasn’t.

We then got Dinosaur Pile-Up attempting to be Weezer. It was quite fun to start out with but after three songs we realised that every single one of their songs sounded identical and had blurred into one endless whinge, with properly adolescent lyrics. They weren’t horrible – I just don’t think I’d care if I never heard them again.

This is the first time I’ve seen Twin Atlantic really touring Free hard and I have to say it was encouraging. There’s a new confidence in their delivery and they appear almost to have “relaxed”. This could have translated badly, because you never want to hear that a band has lost its edge, but this is more of a case of them feeling more comfortable in their own skins. The new stuff has more polish and while Vivarium and earlier offerings were laudable in their aggression, the band is definitely growing up. It did make me smile that the audience seemed most excited by the early tracks, showing that they’ve been loyal. In the past the band has been openly derisive about London audiences but it seems the endless moshing, massive sing-alongs and on-cue crowd surfing might just have changed their minds. Long may Sam McTrusty leave London venues with a smile on his face… now if he could just remember all the words. Go and see Twin Atlantic. You will like them. I promise.

REVIEW: Bark! at Tamesis Dock

It’s not every night you get to go to a gig on a boat but Thursday night was one of those nights, as I was lucky enough to get an invitation to Bark! Bark! is a regular music night hosted by a collection of likely young chaps and chapettes who like noise, beer… and it seems boats. This round of Bark! takes place at Tamesis Dock a moored boat between Vauxhall and Lambeth Bridges. And if you’re ever looking for it, trust me you can’t miss it. It’s all done up in fairy lights like a Christmas tree.

The venue is not without its charms. The upper deck boasts an awesome view of the river and the wildly eclectic décor inside is a talking point on its own. Not that we’re forced to talk about the décor since there’s some rather good music on offer.

First up are the folk stylings of Alistair MacKenzie accompanied by Ben Edgington. It is instantly obvious that MacKenzie is a bit special. His voice is soulful, rich and unusual – somewhat reminiscent of Scott Hutchinson. Both play acoustic guitar but MacKenzie is particularly animated when he picks up his banjo and there are feet tapping along throughout. I particularly like The Mess We’re In, a frank song about unrequited love and the cruelties of karma.  You can download a little free EP from his website now, so get on it.

Next up is Exiles, a magnificently noisy trio of Southend lads full of grungy aggression and political lyrics. There is something very sincere and real about them and they’re perfect for the rough and ready “homemade” vibe of Bark! The entire set is played with the aforementioned Ben Edginton lying on the floor with his feet up against the drum kit to stop it from skidding across the floor due to the odd angle that the boat has grounded itself at. And we’re all treated to handmade copies of an Exiles single with a masking tape title. It must be mentioned that one member of the audience becomes so caught up in the set that he swings from the rafters and snogs my husband. When I chat to bassist, Rob Glenister, about this over a smoke on the deck, he says, “I always knew we were a band that could make things happen.” He might just be right.

We slip out while the tunes are still going. The CD decks have fallen through and Sam Bowcher is frenetically DJing off an array of iPods and phones collected from the audience. It works surprisingly well because he’s playing the music that everyone in attendance loves.

I leave hoping that the next Bark! is soon. I can’t wait to see what the venue will be.

The New Year Mixtape – what I’m listening to

There’s no point in pretending this is the monthly mixtape anymore. I haven’t done one since August last year but what the hey. Here’s the New Year Mixtape!

Aberdeen, Cage the Elephant – Cage’s new album show’s a whole new, much more complex direction and I’ve got it obsessively on repeat. Why a boy from Bowling Green, Kentucky is wailing about Aberdeen is a mystery to me but it works.

Candy, Iggy Pop & Kate Pierson – This is sooo 80’s with it’s “atmospheric” storm sounds and little chat clips but I love it!

The Twist, Frightened Rabbit – Frightened Rabbit are my new favourite find. Their awkward little indie folk musings come to a head in this ode to anonymous love affairs.

Firecracker, Steel Train – This song is so cute. It’s sing and bop along fare with a melancholy air, which is my favourite air.

The Old Days, Dr Dog – I recently found an unidentifiable folder of music on my laptop that I had never listened to. Some of it was dross but there were some little gems including this weird, honky-tonk little folk number.

Ready To Start, Arcade Fire – They’re using this song to promote the new season of Skins and I can’t blame them. It instantly creates atmosphere, building up to a crescendo of intensity.

The Riot Song, Johnny Polygon – This one is also from the random music folder and it’s sort of smooth and jazzy and so not my usual taste. I just think it would make such good background dinner party music.

Na Na Na(Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na), My Chemical Romance – When I heard the first single off Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys I thought there was hope for MCR but as we know the rest of the album is dreadful. I suppose I can still enjoy this little rock anthem.

You Are My Face, Wilco – Maybe I’m a little bit late to the Wilco party but I’m loving this songs sticky guitars, smearily emotive vocals and warbling keyboards.

Slave To Love, Bryan Ferry – Bryan Ferry lives in the forest and raised Vince Noir. I know it’s true because I saw it on Buzzcocks. I love this song… shush all of you! (Although admittedly when I was a kid I thought the lyrics were “safety love”).

Finding Something To Do, hellogoodbye – After the success of hellogoodybe’s bizarre but uber-cute ukulele-infused  debut album I was concerned that there was nowhere to go but this is a slice of pop heaven that somehow manages to keep the charm but lose the silliness.

The (not so) Monthly Mixtape – Summer 2010

I haven’t done a mix tape in forever so shall we just call this “Summer 2010”?

Moth’s Wings, Passion Pit – So Passion Pit are ripping off Animal Collective massively. That doesn’t mean isn’t kinda cool…

Bad Reputation, Joan Jett – I’m on a Joan Jett kick after I saw her live. This is such an ass kicking song. The kind of song to kick doors down to.

Shiver Up The Spine, birdeatsbaby – birdeatsbaby have a charming flare for the macabre and they sound like they’re writing Tim Burton soundtracks. I love the hammering piano, broken glass and ghostly background moans on this one. I can almost imagine Mrs Lovett waltzing to this.

Tiger Mountain Passing, Fleet Foxes – This little number makes me thing of bleak art house love stories… in the snow. Radiohead bleak but a little more romantic.

Time Bomb, The Dismemberment Plan – Such raw emotion. You get the impression that Travis Morrison is genuinely concerned that he might explode.

Into The Woods, My Morning Jacket – The surreal fairground dirge that this song is set to makes it exceptionally creepy along with some pretty bizarre lyrics.

Never Stops, Deerhunter – Who doesn’t want a little shoegazy art rock every now and then? I know I do.

Modern Man, Arcade Fire – So everyone is going mad for The Suburbs, including me. I particularly like the jerkiness of this song which makes it sound like a record skipping… mirrored of course in the lyrics.

Take Me To A Higher Plane, Kate Nash – Kate Nash is back in full riotgrrrrl mode and she’s managing to kick ass without taking her kit off… take that Katy Perry!

White Sky, Vampire Weekend – It’s taken me months to get into Contra. Not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing but now I am into it I can’t stop listening to it, particularly this little gem that makes impressively good use of Ezra Koenig’s vocal gymnastic talents.

Human After All, Twin Atlantic – The latest single from my beloved Scots rockers. The full range of Sam McTrusty’s rage is on show here… you know you want to download it.

Monkey Gone To Heaven, Pixies – I’m so late to the Pixies party that I’m almost embarrassed to add this to my play list but I can’t stop singing it. I have to say that since Rob sang me his version, which goes, “this monkey’s gone to Devon” that’s all I can hear!

Backstage adventures with the wasp ninja

If anyone wants to read the formal review I did of Redfest, you can pick it up on Gigjunkie, which is the lovely live music site I often write for. In that review I got into detail about the bands we saw and the atmosphere of the festival but I know that’s not what y’all want to hear about.  So this little memoir of the festival is all about being a backstage virgin.

On arrival at Redfest (pathetically hungover and out of love with life on my part) we discovered that there was no “press area” and that the only option other than “general festivalgoer” was a full backstage pass, which Paul and I were granted with barely a glance at the list. In fact they initially seemed to think we were in a band called Gigjunkie and asked us what day we were playing on.

It took us a while to actually pluck up the courage to go backstage out of fear that we would stick out like sore thumbs and possibly embarrass ourselves… but there’s only so long you can resist the lure of possibly clean toilets (although that turned out to be a pipe dream).

We sat around for a while drinking cans of Red Stripe, which were considerably cheaper than the beer available in the festival, and gawking at the shininess of the Enter Shikari tour bus before Sam McTrusty of Twin Atlantic came loping over for a cuddle and a chat. It was a bittersweet reunion. I always love seeing Sam. He’s impossibly charming and open and even if I wasn’t wholly obsessed with his band, he’s just fun to hang out with. However, it was him who ended up breaking the news to me that my other favourite band, Envy On The Coast, is no more. I mentioned in a previous blog the connections between the bands and my connection to EOTC and hearing that I’ll never get to see them perform again was a massive blow. Although I suppose if you have to hear that your favourite band has split up the best person you could get the news from is probably the front man of your other favourite band.

It was at this point that we realised that knowing one of the bands means that everyone assumes you’re important and one of the “gang” that includes journos, photographers, brand reps, crew and of course musicians. With Sam sitting with us we got chatting to everyone from the festival organisers to the head of marketing for Fender to eventually Chris from Enter Shikari.  And once they started treating us like one of them, we just acted like we belonged. After all I had a notebook and pen and Paul had a camera, of course we belonged. People gave us their cards and asked us our opinions… in between Sam attempting to karate chop all of the wasps that kept descending on our table. It all gets a bit hazy because the Red Stripe was flowing like water but in the end we even netted an invite to the Enter Shikari after show tour bus party. But after two days on the lash and the 4000 photos Paul took, bed was calling.

Day 2 was significantly more subdued. Twin Atlantic and Enter Shikari were gone and I had reached a level of lethargy that creeps in when you’re almost thirty and you haven’t had an opportunity to lie on the couch and contemplate the meaning of life for a number of days. Several of the friends we’d made the day before recognised us though and we ended up being adopted by a raucous band of barristers who were backstage for reasons yet unknown, and kept us in stitches for most of the evening.

I think Paul fared slightly better than I did, chatting pretty much every band that played on the day, including the ridiculously cool, Little Comets, who I have intentions of adopting. But in the end we were both agreed, beyond a shadow of a doubt that backstage is where we’re meant to be…

All photos kindly courtesy of the lovely Paul Osbiston

Music is life

Those of you who keep an eye on my life via twitter, this blog or facebook will know that I recently got my sixth tattoo… it has been a real labour of love. First César, my fantastic Brazilian tattoo artist, and I had a disagreement about the tattoo. I wanted a different jukebox on my bicep. In his usual brutally honest style, César told me that my idea was not only ugly but also the wrong shape for the area I wanted and sent me off with a series of tuts and telling me he knew what I actually wanted.

When I returned to see his design it turned out he was absolutely right. If I can give you one piece of advice about getting tattoos it’s don’t second-guess the professional. I’ve never seen anyone go on Miami Ink where their idea was better than the tattoo artist’s. In my mind tattoos are more about concepts and finding someone who works in a style that you like… then let them figure out how to make it beautiful.

I’m really into classic tattoo, which is super intricate so I ended up having to have this tattoo done in two stages with a healing phase in between.  So that’s four and a half hours of line and shade work and then 3 and a half hours of colouring. Don’t ask me how much it hurt because I would prefer not to even think about it.

The end result is this:

And the symbolism is such. Music connects my past and my present and connects me to those past and present… hence the choice of a jukebox. Music is an organic thing and it gives and sustains life… hence the leaves and the roots. Music is sacred and spiritual… hence the halo.

I’m already thinking about the next one…

30 Day Meme: Day 22 – A website

Considering how much time I spend on the internet, a website should be a simple one for me, right? Except this exercise has brought me to the realisation that the only actual websites I spend time on are facebook, BBC iplayer, YouTube and Last.fm. That is it. Am I some kind of technotard?

So anyway, Last.fm it is. If you are into music you will know about this (unless you’re living under a rock) but basically it’s a site that lets you catalogue your music habits. So you can plug it into your itunes and it keeps track of what you listen to and how often and makes you stats (I luuuuurve stats). You can also track all the gigs you’ve been to, write reviews, connect with other listeners and of course listen to music and make radio stations based on a kind of music or artist and favourite tracks you like.

If anyone wants to come over to Last.fm, this is my profile. Add me!

30 Day Meme: Day 16 – A song that makes you cry

I’m going with Alive With The Glory Of Love by Say Anything. This song has actually made me cry before, at the exact moment that I realised it was actually about the holocaust and the idea of love being really and messy and very human even under such horrific conditions.

When I watch you, wanna do you, right where you’re standing…yeah.
Right on the foyer, on this dark day, right in plain view…oh, yeah….
Of the whole ghetto, the boot-stomped meadows, but we ignore that, yeah.
You’re lovely, baby. This war is crazy, I won’t let you down…oh, no no….

No, I won’t let them take you, won’t let them take you…Hell, no no…
Oh, no…I won’t let them take you, won’t let them take you…Hell, no no…
No, oh no, no, no….

And when our city, vast and shitty, falls to the Axis, yeah…
They’ll search the buildings, collect gold fillings, wallets, and rings…oh, yeah.
But oh miss black eyeliner, you’d look finer with each day in hiding, oh yeah…
Beneath the wormwood, ooooo, love me so good…
They won’t hear us screw away the day.
I’ll make you say:

“Alive! Alive! Alive with love, alive with love tonight…”
“Alive! Alive! Alive with love, alive with love tonight…”

(No, I won’t let them take you, won’t let them take you…Hell, no no…
Whoa, no…I won’t let them take you, won’t let them take you…Hell, no no…)

Our Treblinka is alive with the glory of love….
Treblinka is alive with the glory of love! Yeah!

(Ok, speed it up….Go!)

Should they catch us and dispatch us to those separate work camps,
I’ll dream about you. I will not doubt you with the passing of time….Oh, yeah.
Should they kill me, your love will fill me as warm as the bullets, yeah.
I’ll know my purpose. this war was worth this. I won’t let you down…

No, I won’t….
No, I won’t….
No, I won’t….

(Alive! Alive! Alive with love, alive with love tonight…)

Hell no, no…Whoa, no, I won’t let them take you, won’t let them take you….Hell, no, no.
No! No!

30 Day Meme: Day 6 – Whatever tickles your fancy

So day 6 is whatever you want… I haven’t done a mix tape since November… for shame… mostly because of the demise of Frank, who I will take to the Mac doctor next week, I swear! But despite my music being all over the place, I have cobbled together…

THE MARCH MIXTAPE! No Spotify though cos I need Frank for that.

Jingle Jangle, Hot Hot Heat – I really did forget how good these guys are until I saw them live. Also this song starts with the lyric, “Watch your children around the abandoned well, don’t ask me if they tripped and fell…” So creepy!

Animal Nitrate, Suede – This is the sickest song I have ever heard. Seriously, google the song meaning as stated by Brett Anderson himself. From First To Last could take sick lessons from Suede.

William It Was Really Nothing, The Smiths – Sometimes I listen to The Smiths and think Morrissey, if you weren’t such a miserable c*nt maybe people would want to hang out with you and you wouldn’t be so suicidal. Thank god he is a miserable c*nt though cos if he wasn’t we’d miss out on songs like this.

We Are All Accelerated Readers, Los Campesinos! – So typical of the Campesinos, super depressing cynical lyrics to jump out of your chair with joy pop!

Something Changed, Pulp – Cos it makes me think of Paul and of us doing Jarvis Cocker hand movements in The Purple Turtle

My Girls, Animal Collective – This is so trippy. It makes you feel like you’re being taken on some kind of bizarre journey… or like you’re on an acid trip.

All The Young Dudes, Mott The Hoople – Words cannot express how much I love this song and how often it gets stuck in my head. Plus Bowie backing vocals. SCORE!

Gideon, My Morning Jacket – Mostly because it sounds very much like the song in The Boosh where they look for the “new sound”. I wonder if it was named after Mrs Gideon… with her face like a cream oval…

Crush’d, Say Anything – STILL not released in the UK. Absolute travesty. This is Max Bemis’ love song for his new wife, Sheri. So honest and absolutely heartfelt.

Walcott, Vampire Weekend – I think I listened to this for three days solid… it turned my brain to jelly!

She Came Home For Christmas, Mew – This is all dreamy and full of gorgeous strings. Plus the notes Jonas Bjerre hits are insane.

Transatlanticism, Death Cab For Cutie – If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship or just away from someone you wanted to be with, this could be your theme song.

Purple haze is in the sky

Last night Lyndon and I went to see Wolfmother at Brixton Academy and had our proverbial socks rocked off. Bursting onto the stage with a version of Dimension that threatened to propel the entire audience into a new dimension, the band played with the kind of reverence needed to do their The Who meets Hendrix meets The Doors 70’s psychedelic sound justice. Andrew Stockdale, the only surviving member of the original line-up, has a voice so big it defies being recorded. It’s a voice that has to be heard live to be appreciated in it’s full magnitude.

And although he is epic to watch, it’s bassist/keyboardist Ian Peres, living up to the stereotype in his floral flares, who draws the eye. He plays keys as if he’s attempting beat his instrument to death and borders on defying physics by managing to play both the guitar and the keys at once… plus his afro is bigger. Hell, by the end of the show even I wanted an afro.

The highlight was the encore, Guitar Hero theme, The Joker & The Thief, which was what we were all waiting for when Woman popped up about five songs in. I was so inspired that I cranked my ipod and danced all the way on my walk home. In hindsight with my silver boots on, there’s a good chance I looked like Noel Fielding having some kind of fit… but, hey… fuck the neighbours. I couldn’t have asked for a better gigging start to 2010.

I am not dead

OMG I miss my blog sooo much! I know I said I wasn’t going to blog in November but I didn’t realise how thinking like I’m writing a blog is entrenched into my consciousness and so I have been longing and longing to come back and spew out words that are not related to my novel, so here goes… the mid-month write-up.

My birthday
It was my birthday on the 6th and now I am basically a fossil and people should pay to come and see me. It was the best birthday ever. I got woken up by Wilhelm and Emily who filled my room with balloons and gave me an Arcade Fire DVD, some more tragic toys and a David & Goliath bag (boy, do they now me well). I then got a series of presents mostly suitable for a six year old from work (Dalek-shaped bubble bath, toy sonic screwdriver, Torchwood mug and a penguin full of smarties). Fortunately I am much like a 6 year old so I was thrilled.




Just some of my haul

The party was at Proud in Camden, which turned out to be an amazing venue and bizarrely our stable that I had hired had a stripper pole in the middle of it. Everyone spent time on that pole. I had more fun than was really reasonable and it seems that everyone else did too.

And... POSE!!

And... POSE!!




Party people!

These are some of the things I bought with my birthday vouchers. I must be the only girl in the world who looks at a plain, black handbag and thinks, “what the hell would I wear that with?” Thanks, guys!


Handbag of destiny

Picture 5

Shoes of emotional fulfilment

Yvonne’s surprise hen party
I followed up my birthday party with a surprise hen-do for Yvonne, where we dressed as sexy cops and Yvonne was a convict. The event took place at the Adonis cabaret, where all I will say is that the “gentlemen” who perform remove all their clothes… and I mean all. Drunkeness ensured, there was partying with strippers, one of them dropped me in the middle of the dance floor and we had the best time… EVER.


You're under arrest

Two gigs so far in November. Firstly Billy Talent, who tore up Brixton. Ben K is still as mad as a hatter but at least this time he only called his ex “El Grando Slutto”, which is very tame for him. The new album is brilliant. Even more chorus magic than before and so it was just a riot of sing-along joy.

Next up was Biffy Clyro, where despite our best intentions, Hilt and I had possibly just a little too much beer and probably a little too much fun for a Thursday night. What an absolutely glorious set… and may I just mention that Simon Neil should be barred from owning, never mind wearing a shirt!


Simon Neil... less is more

I’m actually doing really well at this novel malarkey. I’ve written 29,000 words so far and raised £213. You can still donate here. The most exciting thing though has just been hanging out with other writers and I’ve become totally addicted to write-ins. All the London NaNo’s are fricking awesome.

I will be back soon to normal transmission… but in the meantime don’t forget me and get reading on the novel if you’re bored.

A quote for today and forever

Just found this quote.  I am literally speechless. It is the most beautiful, truest thing I have ever heard.

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

~ Henry David Thoreau